Hours spent waiting in the rain for a tardy Madonna were quickly forgotten as audiences were treated to a setlist punctuated with bawdy jokes and anecdotes
MOLLY Meldrum said he was overwhelmed by Madonna’s onstage tribute to him in Melbourne.
Madonna dedicated Take a Bow to Meldrum, calling him “the first man in Australia to fall in love with me.”
“I’m really shy, but it was lovely for her to do that,” an emotional Meldrum said. “But it was so overwhelming. I didn’t know what was going on when she was coming towards me.”
Madonna had given Meldrum front row tickets and leaned over the stage to hand him the microphone and take a swig from a hip flask.
“Once she got closer she could see I was tearing up, and it was almost like she went for more!,” Meldrum said.
Meldrum told the singer, and all of Rod Laver Arena, “I f—ng love you!”
Madonna replied “I love you too. You take care of yourself, you hear me?”
Meldrum revealed a Madonna trade secret — the hip flask only contained water.
“Madonna is incredible,” Meldrum said. “The show is amazing — her, the band, the dancers, the choreography — it’s just awesome.”
Meldrum gave Madonna a copy of her autobiography The Never, Um, Ever Ending Story.
“There’s a whole chapter in there about her,” Meldrum said. “We’ve had some great times together.”
Madonna and Molly’s history stretches back to 1983, when his show Countdownchampioned the singer in her early days.
That meant Australia was the first place to make her single Burning Up a hit andHoliday went Top 5 in Australia first.
Australia also gave Madonna her first No. 1 anywhere in the world with Like a Virgin.
All three songs feature in the Rebel Heart tour — Madonna’s first visit down under since 1993.
Madonna has only performed Take a Bow on stage four times since it was a No. 1 hit in 1994, two of those times being in Melbourne this week.
Meldrum, recovering from a fall in Thailand, was a hero in the crowd. However one overenthusiastic audience member gave him a friendly slap on his sore arm.
“I nearly wanted to punch him, which I apologise for, but it was like shot in the arm. He didn’t mean it, but I can’t shake hands or anything at the minute, I’m still in pain.”
While the fan dream of Kylie Minogue getting on stage with Madonna in Melbourne didn’t happen, singer and drag performer Courtney Act was pulled out of the crowd by Madonna for the song Unapologetic B—h.
Madonna got very up close and personal with Act, who got into the moment by stripping off and chatting with the superstar, who seemed to have no idea she had a profile herself.
Courtney Act appeared on Australian Idol but got her international break by appearing on RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2013 and is an in-demand performer around the world.
Act tweeted today “woke up to find last night did actually happen!”
Madonna plays Rod Laver Arena again tonight (she is expected on stage around 9pm) before shows in Brisbane on Wednesday and Thursday.
The entire Rebel Heart world tour ends in Sydney next Saturday and Sunday.
Australian fans are hoping one of the shows will be filmed for a possible DVD. Madonna professionally filmed Thursday’s Tears of a Clown fan club show in Melbourne however she has yet to film any of the Rebel Heart shows worldwide.
MADONNA: REBEL HEART ★★★★1/2
Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, March 12
You don’t have to be a lapsed Catholic to appreciate the glorious spectacle of Madonna’s Rebel Heart world tour. But it does help.
When Madonna was little, she watched her mother pray while kneeling on uncooked rice. She saw her sleep on wire coat hangers. When her aunts visited, wearing jeans with zippers on the front, her mother draped sheets over the holy statues.
On Saturday night at Rod Laver Arena, we saw the world’s most famous pop star ride and spank a half-naked nun while singing Holy Water, her hymn to oral sex.
In Devil Pray, she genuflects before a priest, then grinds against him before striding off and pleading, “Mother Mary, can’t you help me?”
Most arrestingly, she re-imagines the Last Supper as a bacchanal, the feast culminating in an orgy. In the very spot where da Vinci has Jesus addressing his stricken disciples, we find Madonna, back arched and legs apart. You’ve never seen Vogue (normally a slick dance number) performed with such darkness.
Catholic iconography is woven throughout the show, part of her first Australian tour in 23 years. Even when religion is not explicit, you just feel it. From start to finish, it’s is a deeply Catholic affair. There’s repression transmuted into kink, for instance. (Such as Madonna hinting at an erotic relationship with Jesus.) The melding of sex, power and rituals. (She walks down the stage, with minions carrying her bridal train as she moans orgasmically, then stops to ask: “Is this a church?”)
Most tellingly, there’s the rigorous discipline and occasional self-flagellation. At one point, she chides herself for some mistake, even though it’s imperceptible to us.
In 1990, Madonna’s Blond Ambition World Tour set the template for a new generation of pop stars: blending music, elaborate dance, costume, giant sets and video into a sensory bombardment. And boy, did they use that template.
On Saturday, it felt like the queen had re-asserted herself. Her dancers were better, her sets more impressive, her re-interpretation of classics more creative. Everything was polished to within an inch of its life – which is what made it so magnificent.
To wonder why she still mixes religion and sex is to miss the point. This is not some phase; this is in her DNA. And she does it better than anyone, as she proved yet again.
Rebel Heart, her best album in years, provided nine songs: Iconic, Bitch I’m Madonna, Holy Water, HeartBreakCity, Devil Pray, Living For Love, Body Shop, Rebel Heart and Unapologetic Bitch.
She sang HeartBreakCity, her bitter anthem, atop a spiral staircase as she pushed away a paramour. Then she ripped off her jacket to reveal a sparkly ’80s number. “I made it through the wilderness,” she began. Everyone lost it, then joined in with Like a Virgin.
This is where Madonna started having fun; smiling, sometimes laughing, clearly enjoying re-working her older material. Gratifyingly, her oft-neglected hits got a look-in.
Deeper and Deeper, from her most under-rated album Erotica, was closest to its original form: a thumping disco-tinged anthem. Her ukulele-led singalong of True Blue was perhaps the most joyous moment of the evening. (Why does she keep leaving it off her greatest hits collections?) Another highlight: her guitar-shredding rendition of Burning Up. La Isla Bonita is perhaps the best known of the lot, though it was transformed into a stomping, dramatic opener to the evening’s Spanish portion.
Noticeably absent was her greatest song Like a Prayer, which she treated her Los Angeles audience to recently. It’s a shame we didn’t get it, given she was last here five prime ministers ago.
Holiday – which she performed draped in the Australian flag – was a wise closing number. But the most Aussie moment of the evening came when she spotted Molly Meldrum in the crowd, thanking him for his decades of support. “Molly! Molly! Molly!” everyone chanted.
At this point, Meldrum grabbed her microphone and screamed, “I love you!” The place erupted. The consensus seemed to be: come back, soon.
The Rebel Heart tour continues at Rod Laver Arena on March 13, Brisbane Entertainment Centre, March 16 and 17 and Sydney’s Allphones Arena on March 19 and March 20.
Read more: https://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/music/madonna-review-rebel-heart-tour-proves-material-girl-does-it-better-than-anyone-20160313-gnhklc.html#ixzz42m2vygJP
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She was surprisingly punctual for her sold-out Rod Laver Arena show last night, after being four hours late for her one-off Forum show on Thursday.
That night was a rehearsal of a looser style of show, including her stand-up comedy. Last night we saw classic Madonna in full pop extravaganza mode.
And remember — that’s a genre she helped to create. Most pop concerts now follow her blueprint.
Madonna told the audience: “Thank you for your patience, you’ve waited over 20 years. What the f*** is wrong with me?”
She also apologised for the rough Tears of A Clown show, saying “I only had two days to rehearse — I’m gonna do it better next time, I promise.”
Madonna got back into clown mode briefly, riding a tiny bike, honking a horn and pulling out a hip flask.
The singer offered Molly Meldrum, who was in the front row, a swig, thanking him for “being the first man in Australia to fall in love with me.”
She dedicated Take a Bow to Meldrum saying “you’re the best” before the crowd started chanting “Molly! Molly!”
Full article HERE
(Picture from justindwiggins instagram page)
According to people attending there are notices around stating that the event may be filmed for promotional or broadcast purposes, still no official confirmation on a DVD release at this time.
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The UK press has been giving attention to Madonna’s Tears Of A Clown gig too. As usual The Sun isn’t getting Madonna (and probably never will) don’t bother with the article, but enjoy the pics they print intead. There’s also an article in the Daily Mail.
Articles have been scanned and added to our Rebel Heart Tour page
Pop star Madonna has spoken emotionally about her estranged son, Rocco, at her first Australian show in 23 years.
The singer wiped away tears as she discussed her custody battle with ex-husband Guy Ritchie, and dedicated the song Intervention to Rocco.
Pictures of the 15-year-old were projected behind the star as she sang.
The performance was part of an intimate one-off show at The Forum in Melbourne; which was only open to 1,500 competition winners.
Called Tears Of A Clown, it presented the star as a confessional singer-songwriter (albeit one dressed in a circus outfit), as she ditched her dancers and dissected her most personal songs.
They included Mer Girl, from the album Ray of Light, which Madonna said was inspired by visiting her mother’s grave and finding it covered in weeds.
The show started three hours late after rehearsals over-ran, leaving fans – some of whom had been queuing since Monday – waiting outside in the pouring rain.
But when she finally took to the stage, shortly after midnight, Madonna received an enthusiastic response from the audience, who shouted “we love you” and “you’re the queen” as she trundled around the stage on a tricycle.
The star repeatedly insisted Tears Of A Clown was “brand spankin’ new” and a “work in progress”.
“I want to make a disclaimer,” she said. “If anyone thinks they came here to see a finished final show, there’s the door.”
Her tribute to Rocco came seven songs into the set.
“There’s no end to the mistakes I’ve made,” she said. “Everybody knows the saga of me and my son Rocco. It’s not a fun story to tell or think about.
“I probably could have enjoyed myself a little bit more on this tour if he hadn’t disappeared so suddenly, and also if I knew when I would see him again. I want to dedicate this next song to him, to Rocco.”
The song, from the American Life album, opens with the lyrics: “I’ve got to save my baby / Because he makes me cry / I got to make him happy / I got to teach him how to fly.”
The setlist included covers of Stephen Sondheim’s Send In The Clowns and Elliot Smith’s Between The Bars; alongside fan-favourite tracks like Take A Bow, Don’t Tell Me and I’m So Stupid, the latter of which had never been performed live before.
Between the songs, Madonna exchanged banter with the crowd, reflected on her past relationships and told jokes – both lewd and hackneyed. “Do you guys know how you kill a clown?” went one. “You go for the juggler”.
But, aside from a ukulele version of Holiday, which closed the show, the music was sombre and melancholy.
Madonna explained she had chosen a clown theme for the show because “to me they symbolise heartbreak. There’s something tragic about clowns because they try so hard to make you laugh, to make you smile.”
“They are obviously covering up something, there is something going on inside. What do you think is going on inside of me?”
The show, at Melbourne’s Forum Theatre, took place hours after a hearing took place in London’s High Court to resolve a custody dispute between Madonna and her former husband, film director Guy Ritchie.
The couple, who divorced in 2008, are negotiating over the future of their son, who left Madonna’s world tour and moved in with his father late last year.
The hearing continues on Friday.
Read more at BBC
Celebrating her long-overdue return to Australia after a 23-year absence, Madonna treated fans to an intimate show billed as Tears of a Clown at the Forum Theatre. RICHARD S HE was among the fans who witnessed the (very late) night of performance art, comedy, story telling and music.
Only hours before her hyper-exclusive fan show’s scheduled to start, Madonna put this up on Instagram – “I am presently experiencing life at a rate of several WTF’s per hour”. It’s good to know that one of the most famous women in the world still gets nervous.
The doors opened around midnight, three and a half hours late. A handful of fans had been camping out since the morning of the day before. It didn’t matter. Like those elusive Prince afterparties, the later the show starts, the more rewarding it is. Tonight, we’re all impressionable teenagers again, rediscovering feminism and queerness and sexuality and the sheer liberating joy of pop music.
From top to bottom, Tears of a Clown is surreal. It’s hard to process the fact that Madonna’s finally back in Australia, 23 years after The Girlie Show. It’s bizarre, seeing her in the flesh. It’s hilarious, seeing her ride onstage on a miniature girl’s bike, clad in head-to-toe pink top hat, wig, and clown makeup. But as she opens with a trip-hop version of ‘Send in the Clowns’, we’ve never taken her more seriously. Later, she flashes us and throws peanuts at the front row, and hey, we came for that too.
It’s been over a decade since we last saw Madonna in confessional singer-songwriter mode. Tonight, she’s still a feminist/queer icon, but the larger-than-life popstar Madonna’s on the shelf. She plays mostly album cuts from Ray of Light, Music, and most surprisingly,American Life – a deeply personal album largely ignored by radio, but beloved by fans. She even covers Elliott Smith’s ‘Between the Bars’, and it sure as hell isn’t for indie cred.
Tonight’s all about storytelling and, fronting a six-piece band, her voice and lyrics are out front. Madonna’s always been a deeply underrated vocalist; she instinctively knows how to mold her voice to a song’s arrangement, emotion, words. Whether it’s over acoustic guitars or electronic backings, complete with live auto-tune, she’s in fine form.
Tears of a Clown is really a cabaret, as much about her banter as her songs. Madonna rarely gets credit for her perfectly dry comic timing, but it’s on full display tonight. She flits between telling crass jokes – “What do you call the piece of skin at the end of a penis? A man!” – and telling offbeat, moving stories. She talks about her father, who’s living his dream, devoted to tending his vineyard well into his eighties.
She recounts visiting her then-husband Sean Penn – “you know he’s a badass!” – in a maximum-security prison. Sean’s cell is next to Richard Ramirez, the infamous “Night Stalker” serial killer – and he has a line of young female groupies. Meanwhile, the most talked-about celebrity couple of the ‘80s is just… there, alone. She still doesn’t know what to make of it.
Midway through the show, Madonna confesses what we’ve all been thinking, and dedicates ‘Intervention’ to her estranged teenage son Rocco. “There is no love stronger than a mother for her son”; Tears of a Clown really only exists for this moment. Madonna finds catharsis by singing her very saddest songs. And she finds redemption by playing them to 1500 of her most devoted, neglected fans. That’s unconditional love.
By ‘Joan of Arc’, maybe the best song off last year’s Rebel Heart, Madonna’s come to terms with her own limitations. “Fame is a form of misunderstanding”, she says, but she realises she has everything else to live for. Only then can she finally pull out the hits. ‘Don’t Tell Me’ gets the first big singalong of the night. People remember that single for its kitschy cowboy-Americana video, an early predecessor to Kanye’s uncanny ‘Bound 2’. Fewer remember it for its poetic, existential lyrics. Tonight, it’s commiseration and celebration.
Madonna’s reputation as some ice-queen businesswoman couldn’t be further from the truth. She’s always been an artist first and foremost. What she’s doing tonight could melt even the hardest cynic. Tears of a Clown is about comedy, about the unexpected. It’s about laughing through our tears. This Madonna’s more vulnerable because she’s dressed in a ridiculous clown costume.
“People always ask me – why do you keep making records? Going on tour? Haven’t you done everything?… There’s no time limit on creation. When Pablo Picasso was painting, did they tell him to stop?” Madonna’s notorious, and beloved, for never looking back. Virtually all her musical peers are nostalgia acts, but she reinvents herself for every tour, every album. Tonight, she revisits a handful of mostly 13, 15-year-old songs – around the age of her son – and rediscovers the soul they always had. Tonight’s intimate affair only deepens the giant arena tour we’ll see in a few days’ time.
Just before 3 a.m., Madonna finally closes with ‘Take a Bow’, and a ukulele encore of ‘Holiday’. Everyone’s exhausted, but it feels like she could go on forever. Maybe in another 23 years?
Send in the Clowns (Stephen Sondheim cover)
Drowned World/Substitute for Love
Between the Bars (Elliott Smith cover)
I’m So Stupid
Paradise (Not for Me)
Joan of Arc
Don’t Tell Me
Take a Bow
See more at FasterLouder
It was close to 1am by the time Madonna finally came trundling on to Melbourne’s Forum stage on Thursday, dressed in a bright yellow clown smock, riding a tiny tricycle and waving to a sea of 1,500 competition winners. Doors had been billed to open at 8.30pm and many had waited in the rain for hours. One fan claimed to have been standing outside the venue since Tuesday.
Music critic Lachlan Kanoniuk attended the intimate, offbeat and highly confessional cabaret show, and said when the American singer-cum-circus clown entered to the sounds of Stephen Sondheim’s Send in the Clowns, “everyone was like: ‘Oh shit, that’s Madonna doing laps on the stage, on a tricycle.’ ”
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In her first Australian show in 23 years, the Material Girl prefaced the Tears of a Clown performance by apologising for any mistakes, calling it a “rehearsal” she had only practised a couple of times, Kanoniuk said.
She will be back in full pop star mode on Saturday when she performs at Rod Laver arena, before heading to Brisbane and Sydney.
Of the stories told throughout the two-hour performance, she recalled visiting her mother’s grave overgrown with weeds and played the song it inspired her to write, Mer Girl. She wiped away tears as she discussed losing custody of her 15-year-old son, Rocco, to ex-husband Guy Ritchie, before performing Intervention.
In another she spoke about visiting then-husband actor Sean Penn in jail, whose jail mates at the time included serial killer Richard Ramirez, aka the Night Stalker. “It was quite a serious story but punctuated by these soundbites of goofy cartoon noises,” Kanoniuk said.
The show also featured “a weird mix of old vaudevillian-style, M15+, smut humour and bad wordplay; some jokes about clowns, sex jokes that were really quite bad but she had such great comedic delivery – kind of knowing the jokes were shit and using them as a segue into songs.
“Like: ‘I don’t have bipolar disorder but I am a little borderline’, and then playing Borderline.”
She said she would “rather die than work in Vegas” and in another bawdy joke asked the crowd to guess the punchline to her joke: “What’s the difference between a car tyre and 365 used condoms?”, wiping a $100 note between her legs and offering it as a prize.
Kanoniuk said an audience member successfully answered: “One is a Goodyear and another is a great year.”
In her cover of Elliott Smith’s Between the Bars, one of the biggest names in pop music showed a side of herself few in Australia had seen: no costume changes, no highly synchronised dance moves, just Madonna playing an acoustic guitar and baring her soul on stage.
Kanoniuk likened it to Prince’s recent intimate “piano and microphone” tour, which kicked off in Australia. “These artists are watching the machine of the music industry crumble away, so they’re thinking why the fuck not do whatever they want, and while they can still get away with it.”
• Madonna plays Melbourne’s Rod Laver arena on Saturday and Sunday, Brisbane Entertainment Centre on 16 and 17 March, and Sydney’s Allphones arena on 19 and 20 March
See more at The Guardian